Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has attended a meeting with the leaders of the US, Australia, and India. It was the first in-person gathering of an alliance known as the Quad.
The meeting took place at the White House on Friday.
The four countries formed the partnership in 2007. However, leaders had been unable to sit down face to face until today.
The Quad seeks a unified approach to common challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
US President Joe Biden said the four nations are major democracies with a long history of cooperation. He added that they know how to get things done, and are up to the challenge.
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said the meeting demonstrates the strong solidarity between the countries and their unwavering commitment to the common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that, as the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Quad leaders are meeting and working in the interests of humanity.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the countries stand together and share the wish that the Indo-Pacific region will always be free from coercion, and that the sovereign rights of all nations are respected.
The leaders have stressed that the alliance is not a military one. However, they are mindful of escalating tensions between China and its neighbors. They discussed ways to counter Beijing's maritime aggression.
They are also trying to compete with China's economic influence, especially its dominance in the global supply of semiconductors. The Quad members will make an effort to strengthen their own supply chains.
The also agreed to jointly develop technologies that are essential to the global digital economy. Those include cybersecurity and 5G development.
Biden has been calling on countries to set more ambitious targets to tackle climate change. However, the Quad nations will have to start in their own backyards. The US and India are among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
The leaders have agreed to work on a plan to help end the coronavirus pandemic. They discussed how to make and distribute COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries. The partnership is expected to produce at least one billion doses by the end of next year.